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My kids are not vaccinated . . . but how do I stop worrying?? :(

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

My girls are 8 and almost 5  . . . .beautiful, healthy, and never a vaccination.  My DH & I have chosen not to vaccinate because we a) don't trust them and b) feel that there's really no assurance that they actually prevent the disease(s) they're designed to protect against.  And one of my biggest pet peeves is that the pharmaceutical companies give us NO choice as to how many shots we want our children to have, if we do choose to vaccinate.  Here in Canada, we cannot get any single shots, ie, the MMR.  Very frustrating.  Still, without having my kids vaccinated, I worry obsessively.  I worry about every rash, every cut, every cold.  I read WAY TOO MUCH on the University of Google, and scare myself.  My latest obsession has been tetanus.  I actually have an appt for my girls tomorrow to get the DT shot . . . my dr. said they didn't need the DTaP if I didn't want to give it to them.  Of course, I'm probably not going to take them to this appt . . . . I'm driving my DH CRAZY.  Any advice for this mama who just wants the best for my girls?  I feel damned if I do, damned if I don't.  Sigh.

post #2 of 37

How many cases of tetanus are there per year in Canada? How many in children under 18?


In the U.S., there are about 30 cases per year, mostly in people over 40 and heroin users.


Why do you worry about colds? Because they might be the beginning of pertussis? Pertussis can be annoying, but certainly not dangerous in 8 and 5 year olds. Get some sodium ascorbate and give it to them when they have a cold. That way, you're giving the pertussis treatment just in case, and it can't hurt even if it isn't pertussis.


Why do you worry about rashes? Because they might be rubella or measles? Those used to be normal childhood illnesses that parents didn't worry about, until the vaccine came along. Measles only causes blindness in severely malnourished children who are deficient in vitamin A. Have some vitamin A drops in the house just in case.


Your kids have come this far, just fine without vaccines. Why introduce the unknown of possible vaccine reactions now?


Have you read the entire package insert for the DT vaccine, to make sure it contains no thimerosal/mercury at all?

post #3 of 37
I'm with you about the tetanus fear. But I can't bring myself to do the vax (DTaP or DT) unless I'm totally 100% sure I'm doing the right thing. And until I can make peace with the decision I keep delaying. As someone told me once, you can always get the vax but you can't take it out once given. I know the risk is super low for tetanus but it's one of the only VPDs that really keeps me up at night. I drive my DH crazy too trying to draw him into the conversation. He's happy just letting me make the vax decisions but I want his input! I also made an appt last month (for DTaP) but cancelled it.

The thing that makes me feel better is that look at the MDC forums. We probably have at least 1000-2000 unvaccinated kids between us. I've searched the threads back to 2005, I've seen lots of posts from parents like us worried about tetanus but never seen anyone posting that their unvaxxed kid actually got tetanus. There are lots of posts about kids getting pertussis, chicken pix, measles, pneumonia, mumps....But I've never seen one about a child getting tetanus (or diptheria, or polio, or HiB for that matter....Has anyone ever heard of an anecdotal story on here about tetanus cases? I think between those kids they've all had their share of scrapes, splinters, cuts, insect bites (I know my DD does, we just were in the ER yesterday for a spider bite). I thought they were going to bring up tetanus but they didn't. I wonder how many cases individual doctors have ever seen? Anyway, babbling. Just want to say I understand the fear and live with it too.
post #4 of 37
Thread Starter 

I think alot of my fear comes from fear mongering . . . right now there's alot going on about Pertussis . . . I agree, if my kids get it, it will be annoying, but I'm not worried about it being harmful.  A few months ago my youngest got quite sick, and wasn't recovering.  She had a fever for a week that wasn't resolving, so we took her to the local ER.  Well the Dr. said it was probably measles, and sent us on our way.  After a good dose of 'You should be vaccinating your children' of course.  Well I was panicked for days, thinking the rash was coming, that I was a horrible mother because I didn't vaccinate her . . . well, she didn't have measles.  Days of stress & anxiety for nothing.

Recently my mama friend who doesn't vaccinate herself or her kid had to get a DT shot in the ER because she stepped on a nail . . . she didn't want to get it, but weighed it all out and decided to get it.  My issue is, if my kids do get hurt, and the wound doesn't bleed, I will have to take them to the ER and get the DT . . and probably the Tig, since the DT vaccine takes at least two weeks to even start working...I think I just plain old worry to much.  I'm the 'what if' kind of girl, while my DH is the 'whatever happens will happen' kind of guy.  Yin and Yang, for sure.  LOL

I had vaccinations when I was a kid .  . . my mom says I also had the chicken pox, measles . . the works.  My concern is with the advent of vaccinations, and the amount of vaccinations we give our kids these days, that the diseases have changed, mutated...putting kids at greater risk of complications, I guess. 

post #5 of 37

Eh, it is easy to get worked up about these things with all the media, especially if there is a current outbreak. But taking time to actually read about the diseases, rather than the media hype usually gives me a clearer head. 


Anecdotally speaking my 5 totally unvaxxed kids have never had a vpd. They have picked up plenty of other junk from kids whose parents do not seem to care that they are spreading illness. We have had lots of cuts and scrapes, even went to the er once with a big slash on 5yodd thumb and I don't remember them even asking about tetnus. We make sure deeper wounds bleed and keep it really clean. 


eta...if we had a wound that put them at considerable risk for tetanus we would go with tig. The pertussis part of the vax is out of the question for us.

post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses! So another question about Tetanus; I understand the wound needs a lack of oxygen for tetanus to flourish; I will always ensure a wound bleeds and gets cleaned; but what about something like a paper cut, or sliver, that doesn't bleed? These are both puncture wounds, are they not?
post #7 of 37

In general, I think people become comfortable with not vaccinating through:


-learning how rare many diseases actually are

-learning how to deal with the disease if it does happen.  Signs, symptoms and treatment.  


If scary anecdotes on the internet worry you, then perhaps you need to be really discriminating on which sites you look at?


At the end of the day, you have to make peace with the following:


What worries you more - the unlikely chance your child will have a serious vaccine reaction or the unlikely chance your child will get the disease?  I feel I have a better handle on the likelihood of VPDs and the chances of a severe reaction to VPD's than I do on the likelihood of a severe vaccine reaction, so I have chosen not to vaccinate.  Too many unknowns for me.


You could also go the sel/del route.  It does not have to be all or nothing.  Not all vaccines and all VPD's have the same profile.


I hear you on the concerns around vaccines not being spilt up, however.  It is really annoying.  Once upon a time I was considering measles vax for my children.  Can I get measles without mumps and rubella?  No, I cannot.  I consider rubella and mumps benign childhood diseases that one should consider vaccinating for in adolescence if you were not lucky enough to get them in childhood.  I sure as heck do not think they should be a routine childhood vax.  


Waving from Ontario,



Edited by purslaine - 5/28/12 at 11:53am
post #8 of 37
Thread Starter 
Hi Kathy, *waves back* I grew up in Ontario, Toronto to be exact. I've been in BC for 16 years.
I was going to always review the *need* to potentially vax as it came up. For whatever reason, Tetanus keeps coming at me...first with a friend stepping on the nail, and then a boy in our co-op who was digging thru dirt in our park and cut himself on a buried piece of glass. He went in for his final DTaP booster.
I've been reading up lots on tetanus, and yes, I agree, I need to be more selective with what I read. My conundrum is this:
Our co-op park is old, and the play structure is situated on dirt, which is essentially a giant cat litter box, since all the neighbourhood cats use it as their washroom. Gross, I know. I have penned a letter to our board pointing out the various hazards in our park, hoping to have them fixed . We've lived here for 3 years and my kids have hurt themselves lots in the park, and I've never considered tetanus until now, since it's come up in my universe, so to speak. My almost 5 year old falls ALOT. We all laugh at it , it's cute how clumsy she can be, but now it's more alarming to me than cute. So do i vaccinate tomorrow with the DT, knowing it probably has thimerosol in it (the multi vials do, single vials don't; the dr's secretary wasn't sure what they used).
My DH reacted bad to a hep vaccine he had to take for work, he was exempted from the boosters. DD1 has bad allergies curteousy of DH, and DD2 has minor ecezema. I'm worried vaxes of any kind will further exacerbate these issues.
post #9 of 37
I would not get the shot. Not unless your dd outright steps on an old rusty nail and it's basically an injection. That is what happened to my dd - she did step on an old rusty nail that went deep in her foot. It was red and raised and she was hobbling around crying. You bet I took her for the Tetnis shot. Otherwise what good is it to worry??

I made my choice to non vax and if I start to worry about a disease, I research how to treat it so I'm ready. With allergies, I would not vax. I would worry about the effects of the shot. Either way, we love our kids and worry about them. You are taking a chance by vaxing AND you are taking a chance NOT vaxing. I am taking a chance I could die in a car accident by driving. There are always risks. Find your peace with your decision.
post #10 of 37

Do you feel you have done enough research to make a decision re: tetanus?


How effective is the vaccine after one vax?  Two? Three?  Maybe you do not need to do all the boosters?  (this is speculation on my part - you need numbers)


Are there ingredients in the Td that concern you?  Do you think these concerns are mitigated by the age of your children?


Do you know what vaccine you are getting and can you read the vaccine insert online prior to vaxxing?


Any family history that points to not vaccinating in your case?


It is hard to suss out online whether your decision to do tetanus is a fear-based for one reason or another - or if your momma-instincts are saying that really your children should have the tetanus shot.


I would give Vit. C before and after a vaccine, here is a link:  



I would also skip Tylenol after the injection, and make sure everyone is healthy before vaccinating.  


Good luck in your decision!



post #11 of 37

I know someone who's father died of tetanus. I also know several people with permanent disability from polio. I also know someone who lost their fertility from mumps. Polio I wouldn't worry about unless my children were traveling outside of the US. Otherwise, I vaccinate. I've seen the bad outcomes.

post #12 of 37
Originally Posted by BByHlPr View Post

I know someone who's father died of tetanus. I also know several people with permanent disability from polio. I also know someone who lost their fertility from mumps. Polio I wouldn't worry about unless my children were traveling outside of the US. Otherwise, I vaccinate. I've seen the bad outcomes.

I don't get that. I know people who have been killed in car accidents. Does that stop me from going anywhere?

post #13 of 37
Originally Posted by BByHlPr View Post

I know someone who's father died of tetanus. I also know several people with permanent disability from polio. I also know someone who lost their fertility from mumps. Polio I wouldn't worry about unless my children were traveling outside of the US. Otherwise, I vaccinate. I've seen the bad outcomes.



Here is a Canadian graph - 2 people in a country of 35 million had tetanus last year, and both were over 60! 




Mumps is more common - 79 on average per year out of 35 million


I must not get out very much…all I run into with regards to VPDs is chicken pox (quite frankly, I would like my youngest to run into it.  wink1.gif )

Edited by purslaine - 5/28/12 at 4:39pm
post #14 of 37
Originally Posted by Bronwen13 View Post

Thanks for the responses! So another question about Tetanus; I understand the wound needs a lack of oxygen for tetanus to flourish; I will always ensure a wound bleeds and gets cleaned; but what about something like a paper cut, or sliver, that doesn't bleed? These are both puncture wounds, are they not?

A paper cut is not a puncture wound. A puncture wound has a narrow entry point, usually a similar diameter to the object which caused it. Think about the type of injury you'd get from a nail. A paper is an extremely low risk injury. To cause a cut the paper needs to be fairly crisp so it's not likely to have been sitting arOund in the dirt. Also, if it's so shallow it doesn't bleed it's not likely to grow tetanus even if spores were present.

A sPlinter is, theoretically a higher risk but if you give it a good wash with soap and water it should be fine. Most will be fairly shallow though, esPecially if there's no bleeding.
post #15 of 37

I know someone (an ND friend of mine) who had a friend of the family die of tetanus...And my MIL knows a lady at her post office who got tetanus (MIL said she was filthy and tied old rags to her wounds instead of cleaning them) who survived.  So that is so totally like 10th generation removed, but I guess I know someone who knows someone who got tetanus.  Yes, it's out there, I'm not a tetanus denier or anything!  I just don't think at THIS POINT in my DD's life the risks of the vax (albeit small) outweigh the risks of getting tetanus (albeit much smaller but maybe more serious.)


When my kids are about 5 and will be away from me for long periods of time (full time school) I am pretty sure I will give them the tetanus vax.  Right now if DD even gets a scratch I pour on hydrogen peroxide (she lives in fear of the bottle) then wash it with soap and warm water, usually try to soak it depending on the part of the body.  She does get hurt a lot.  I would not worry about a paper cut (unless she was going to go right outside and stick her hands in the soil before it scabs) but I admit I do worry about splinters.  She gets them often.  Usually they are small enough they are just in the epidermis layer, haven't gone into the bloodstream.  But I painstakingly pull each one out with tweezers and then our H202 on the area.  She is so traumatized from splinter removal so far this spring that I just have to say the word "splinter" and she runs to put on sandals.  99% of them come from our deck which I doubt is much of a tetanus hazard but she always now wears shoes on it, or else I remind her "splinter" and she runs to get them.  BUT!  I know I can't be so sure that a school nurse will be as careful as I am about wound cleaning.  So that is why I am thinking about doing the vax in a year or two.  She is going to preschool but it's just 2 half days a week in a very small class.  I already spoke to the teacher about my concerns, turns out her daughter was unvaxxed until age 7 when she got a HUGE splinter and they took her to the ER for TIG and tetanus vax.  They started selectively vaxxing her from that point on.  So I thinks she "gets it."  But there are also only going to be 6 kids in her preschool--Once it is larger and full time I think it will make me feel less secure about leaving that one vax out.  Tetanus is the only one of the VPDs that gives me pause about her unvaxxed status (that she is even somewhat likely to encounter--Diptheria and Polio do as well but short of international travel she's not going to be exposed.)  Hep B does as well---But that's not something I worry about until at least 8th grade (if she's wild and matures early like me) or college (if she's like my brother.)  So we have loads of time.


As far as what type of tetanus vax...My aforementioned ND friend gives her kids the pediatric DT from Sanofi Pasteur.  It has much less aluminum than even the lowest aluminum DTaP.  And a lot less preservatives.  But it does have a trace (0.3 mcg) thimerasol.  As per the package insert after 2 doses it had a 98% effacacy for D and T.  However the manufacture recommended to give 3 doses "just to make sure that the 2% who haven't developed immunity are covered."  So in my mind, I would do 2, then get titers run.  She would have a 98% chance to not need anymore for another 10 years.  (And yes, I believe in titers and vaccine induced immunity.  I am not a "vaccine denier".)


However if you want 0% thimerasol you could go with Daptacel (DTaP) from Sanofi Pasteur.  It has more aluminum (and added pertussis antigens--5 in total) but no thimerasol at all.  it has the same amount of T as ped DT (higher diptheria) so you could infer that 2-3 doses would be enough with DTaP too for just tetanus protection.


I admit I am unsure which I will choose when the time comes.  Trace thimerasol vs pertussis antigens and higher aluminum?  Difficult choice.  But this whole thing is...


Anyway, OP, I don't blame you for wanting to do the tetanus protection.  Just make SURE you know which vax the kids are getting.  These are the above best choices IMO for the 5 y/o, for the 8 y/o she would get the adult Td--Less diptheria but depending on manufacturer there might be other strange ingredients.  I haven't done much research about the adult choices since I am pretty sure that I will vax DD before age 7 which is the cut off.


But be sure to know you need at least 2 (possibly 3) doses for full tetanus protection.  The first dose will not do anything.  It's a "priming dose" to get the immune system ready to accept the boosters and develop immunity.  Not everyone knows this.  I have friends who had to bring their kids to the ER for a wound and got a primary dose of a tetanus containing vaccine at the time.  And so they assumed that was all they needed.  Not true!  However the first dose does prime the immune response basically forever (says the CDC) so that first dose will never expire.  You could give a tetanus containing vax at 2 years old and then wait until 12 years, or 42, and it would still count as dose #1.  So spacing for tetanus is really up to the parent.  I think when/if I choose to do it I will try for 6 months of spacing between doses 1-2 starting at age 4.5 to hopefully get immunity confirmed by titer by age 5.  Just my thoughts on the subject :)

post #16 of 37

Anyway, you still sound on the fence.  What's the rush to do the vax TOMORROW?  You can always cancel it now and reschedule it when you are 100% sure you are making the decision you feel is right.

post #17 of 37

join me to the list of people who will only ever do tetanus when it comes to vaxxing. dc are all unvaxxed currently.


reading this thread with much interest... notes2.gif

post #18 of 37

Tetanus was the last one I considered, but it was an easy decision to skip it when I found out there was no mercury-free single-tetanus vaccine.


My kids are completely vaccine-free, and I have no worries at all about it.

post #19 of 37
I just jumped on to this feed and have been contemplating the whole vax conundrum for over 3 years now. Its a topic I am forced to visit often as we have yet to vax our 2 kids and my mother is petrified. I had a great discussion with my naturopath about them and the one vpd he brought up was tetanus as we hope to have a small hobby farm one day. THEN we talked about homeopathic vaccinations......... Now this is something to consider. I was speaking to my other non-vax mama friends about it and one of them was a nurse in Europe where these are more popular. She worked in the hospital and it was her job to be sure that everyone was up on their vaxs. She encountered a youg woman in her 20's who had only been vaccinated with homeopathic vaccines and was refusing to take any shots. Her titres were checked for all of the vpds and lo and behold..... for the most part, her levels were higher than those in the hospital who had been vaccinated. True story. This is my new research project. Something to think about......
post #20 of 37
Thread Starter 

Bbctchr, you've caught my attention!  I guess you don't know what kind of homeopathic vaccines she was given.  I have researched this abit myself, and am just learning about it.  I know there are two specific homeopathic remedies useful in the treatment of Tetanus, being Ledum & Hypericum.  But like I said, I have alot more research to do!


Added note . . . . I cancelled today's scheduled DT appointments for my girls . . . I'm just not willing to risk the known mercury in this vaccine . . . I need to do more research . . . . I also realize that I've been basing alot of my recent 'rants' on FEAR.  I am consciously removing the FEAR from my being, because it's not my truth.  I know why from day ONE I have not vaccinated my girls . . . I must remember, as we all must, to live by our intuitions.  :)

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